Energy bars from best-selling Bay Area brand Clif Bar are loaded with added sugars despite advertising to the contrary says a new lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California last month.
Three consumers say Clif Bar is violating California's Unfair Competition Law, False Advertising Law, and Consumer Legal Remedies Act in marketing its energy bars as healthy. The plaintiffs in the case Ralph Milan, Sarah Aquino and Elizabeth Arnold, say they purchased Clif Bar's ZBars and classic Clif Bars based on the premise that they were healthy, a claim they say is negated by the immense amount of sugar in the bars. Some of the bars' calories come from nearly 40 percent sugar.
"The claims, designed to appeal to health conscious consumers, however, are deceptive because they are incompatible with the dangers of the excessive sugar consumption to which the products contribute," the complaint states.
Brown rice syrup is a leading ingredient in many Clif Bar products. Food Navigator USA says the Classic Clif Bars contain 17-22 grams of added sugar and the kids ZBars, also named in the suit, contain 11-12 grams of added sugar per bar, bringing the percentage to as high as 37 percent sugar per bar.
Clif Bar is not the first energy product brand to face allegations of false advertising. Earlier last month the energy bar brand That’s It Nutrition LLC, was sued over claims that its fruit and veg bars are nutritious.
“In other words, the message is that defendant or any manufacturer was responsible for taking the whole intact fruit, washing it, dicing or chopping it, then mashing it together to form the final bar, so that the product can credibly attest that it contains ingredients identified by a collective name,” the lawsuit states. “If defendant began the bar production process with whole intact fruits, the ingredient list would indicate the presence of an additional binding ingredient such as a gel, pectin, juice concentrate or syrup, needed to keep the individual fruit matter together," noting that the bars were using powders and already-processed ingredients designed to trick consumers into believing the bars were made with whole fruits and vegetables.
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